NRA and Nashville
This is Sandy. Most of you that read this blog regularly are familiar with my husband Steven’s viewpoint… sometimes opinionated viewpoint… sometimes pig headed viewpoint on things.
This week, I wanted to give him a break and talk to you about an interesting experience I had over the past week at the NRA convention in Nashville Tennessee. A part of the country that I honestly had no interest in visiting.
(If you arrived here from our newsletter continue reading here:)
You see, in 1992… I was offered an awesome opportunity to head out to begin my career as an Investigative Reporter with the goal of one day moving into an anchor’s position… the only problem… it was in Kansas City. For those of you who have not met me… my skin color is decidedly more “yellow” than that of my husband’s. While I grew up here in California, I was born in Seoul Korea and immigrated to the USA at the age of two. I was naturalized by the time I was seven (7). At that time, I had no choice but to assimilate into the American culture as there were only a handful of Asians let alone Koreans in the area where I grew up. There were no ESL classes or submersion classes… I was immersed. As a child, I was often ridiculed for being different… I was often times embarrassed that I was different… but as I found my bearings… as my peers found that I was no different then they were… I was accepted and being a part of the American culture was one that I was proud to be… I found myself playing sports for my school and ended my senior year going to Prom and being a leader through my Song Squad. At my university… I was part of a sorority then became student body vice president (and was coined as being the first Asian American Female to hold such a position)… thus giving me an edge on my career… but the thought of moving to middle American… frankly scared me to death… as I didn’t want to go through the trials and tribulations of my childhood years again.
Today, in Orange County there is a large asian population… still you would be surprised at the number of times that fellow Americans would walk up to me… have a conversation with me… then commend me on how beautiful my ability to speak English is… I am sure this, in their mind is a compliment… as that is what our universities teach in our diversity classes. Which appalls me… why focus on how we are different…
We are all different… regardless of our race and heritage… just look at your significant other… don’t you wonder where they came from some times? I think focusing on how we are all the same makes better sense to me!
And that is what I experienced at the NRA Convention this year. Every year the National Rifle Association… (of which I am a member of as well as an instructor…) holds a convention for all of their members. This convention moves from city to city and this year Nashville won the bid.
As I mentioned earlier… (and now you understand why)… I had absolutely no interest in going…
We have also been extremely busy at Artemis, with our new membership drive, people learning about our services, the CCW training as well as fielding a ton of questions about CCW’s and it’s recent rulings.
That, as well as zero interest in going to Tennessee… or for that matter any state in the mid-west with a bunch of… okay, I’m going to say it… REDNECKS… left me uninterested in the idea of heading off for a few days… let alone a convention to boot.
Steven had suggested that at least one of us should go, but it took Chris Cheng, the competitive shooter and NRA contributor telling me over the phone that I NEED TO BE THERE that honestly pushed me over the edge.
Since Chaney was off of school for spring break, I figured I would make it a “mother-daughter” bonding trip.
So… with that, Chaney and I boarded a flight to Nashville. When we landed the two of us got off the plane and found ourselves in one of the most beautiful places on earth, surrounded by some of the nicest, friendliest down to earth people that I have ever met.
If any of them were taken aback by my ethnicity they sure didn’t show it. Each person that I met made no assumptions… they addressed me as if they were addressing any other American… and they certainly did not compliment me on my language skills. They took me at face value.
Then it was on to the NRA convention.
I was curious to see how this whole thing would shake out. For the last three years I have been attending the SHOT show in Vegas. That is a massive production with a diverse audience. The show is only intended for people in the industry (though that is a pretty broad category), still at a fundamental level the show is intended for corporate consumers.
The NRA Convention is more like a big club meeting.
What struck me instantly were the amount of women present… women not just “manning” the booths, but women who were there to see what the latest and greatest was. Easily a third of all those walking around and looking at booths were women. Women of all ages. From teenagers to grandmas there was definitely a pronounced female presence. I also realized I was not the only minority present.
Sure, there were not as many asians as you would see in Irvine, but still plenty to take notice. In fact, just about every color on the palette was in attendance.
This reminded me of an important point. The NRA, as well as other gun rights organizations are first and foremost Civil Rights organizations. Those rights are fundamental, and are recognized by our government… not sanctioned by them. This also means that they are not relegated to only one group either. We each have a fundamental right to self-defense, and by extension we all are protected by the Second Amendment. We as a society need to get beyond the basis of differences… and instead focus as a whole on our similarities and push together to reach a greater goal… not one that separates us into segments of society.
Oh… by the way… I now enjoy Country Western Music too.